“The tortuous process . . .”
March 7, 2013
Most of the media are focused on the mere fact that President Obama and Paul Ryan are having lunch together at all. (Democrat Chris Van Hollen of Maryland is going to be there too, but where’s the intrigue in mentioning that?)
But the real story is what Obama hopes to gain from the process in setting the nation’s budgetary direction. If Politico can be believed – and I realize what a huge if that is – one of Obama’s priorities is definitely not encouraging:
By speaking directly with Ryan, Obama is hoping to enlist a powerful ally in convincing leadership to abandon its insistence on subjecting all future measures on the debt, deficit, taxes and entitlement reform to “regular order,” the tortuous committee process dominated by party conservatives, according to a person close to the process.
For those not familiar with Washingtonspeak, “regular order” means they actually pass a real budget every year, instead of stringing together a series of continuing resolutions as they’ve been doing since 2010 – the process that has done so much to reduce the deficit and prevent constant fiscal crises. Oh. Wait.
Why is this process “tortuous” as Politico insists? Because politicians have to do a lot of hard working negotiating through their differences, and they have to put their priorities on the record for the public to scrutinize. This was the normal state of affairs before 2010, when Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi realized they could not add the $862 billion allocated in the “one-time stimulus” of 2009 to the budget baseline and get away with it if they passed a real budget.